France: 850 firefighters deployed as nine missing following heavy rains in the south-east


Some 850 firefighters were deployed on Saturday in the south-eastern French department of Alpes-Maritimes while nine people are still missing following heavy rains.“Currently, we have nine people missing and three supposed missing,” said firefighters from the Alpes-Maritimes department.

France has been battered by heavy rains since Storm Alex made landfall Thursday afternoon. Brittany, to the north-west, and the Côte d’Azur, to the south-east, were particularly affected.

Météo France indicated in a bulletin published on Saturday morning that although precipitation had weakened in the Alpes-Maritimes, the rise in the water level in a number of unsupervised rivers still justified an orange alert.

The coastal department was on red alert on Friday.

No less than 500 mm of rain is felt locally in parts of the department over the past 24 hours, the meteorological agency said.

The torrential rains caused extensive damage and caused power outages. Energy company Enedis said that 13,500 of its customers were still without power at 10 p.m. Friday.

Several houses were washed away and the dramatic collapse of a bridge in Saint-Martin-Vésubie was also filmed by residents.

Firefighters said the village is among several still “cut off from the world”.

They added that 850 firefighters – including 348 from outside the department – would be mobilized on Saturday to provide assistance to “victims of storm Alex”.

“Our hearts go out to the families of those missing and in particular to our two fellow firefighters,” they said on Facebook.

Four helicopters from the civil security agency were also dispatched to help with the rescue efforts, Said the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin.


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